Free Trade

WTO Reaches Historic Deal on World Trade

Bali package agreed to Saturday

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The annual WTO ministerial conference, held this year in Indonesia, was scheduled to close on Friday, but closed instead on Saturday with the trade organization's first major international agreement.

From Gant Daily:

For the first time in two decades, World Trade Organization's (WTO) member economies approved an agreement to boost global trade, a move that could add $1tn to the world economy.

Ministers from WTO's 159-member countries approved on Saturday a "trade facilitation" accord that will set common customs standards and ease the flow of goods through borders all over the globe.

The ministers also made decisions on several issues such as how the WTO should take action on government food security programs as well as securing better market access for the world's least developed nations to developed economies.

India put up some resistance to a deal over some kinds of food subsidies it wanted to keep, and Cuba threatened to veto it over a removed reference to the US embargo on the country. India reached a compromise with the US to deal with food subsidies at a future meeting and Cuba withdrew its veto threat.

You can read the draft text of the declaration here. The deal covers only a portion of the issues being negotiated under the wider Doha round of WTO talks, which started in 2001.

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